Mercedes believes it’s “naive” to expect a repeat of its Silverstone performance at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, predicting a “bruised” Red Bull to fight back from its recent defeat.
Lewis Hamilton’s victory at the British Grand Prix brought Red Bull’s five-race win streak to an end, despite a 10-second time penalty for a first-lap clash with championship rival Max Verstappen.
The pair’s collision has seen the rivalry between Mercedes and Red Bull go up a notch, with the latter considering an appeal after revealing the damage to Verstappen’s car in the 51g impact was an estimated $1.8 million.
Mercedes’ turn around in form at Silverstone came after it was unable to match Red Bull’s pace at both Austria rounds, resulting in the team introducing an upgrade to reduce the performance deficit.
While Mercedes has won on Formula 1’s last three visits to the Hungaroring, trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin has tipped Red Bull to respond in the title race.
“This is one of our best tracks so it would be naive for us to think we can go there and expect to carry this performance in,” Shovlin said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“Red Bull are going to be good at a high-downforce circuit – frankly they’re going to be good at every circuit at the moment – and they’re going to be a bit bruised after the experience here.
“So I’m sure they’re going to come back really strong.”
A double podium for Mercedes, coupled with Red Bull’s failure to score points in Sunday’s grand prix at Silverstone, saw the gap in both championships shrink significantly.
Hamilton’s first win since Spain in May has put him just eight points behind Verstappen in the drivers’ standings, while Red Bull is now only four points clear of Mercedes in the constructors’ championship.
Having trailed Red Bull in the standings since Monaco, Shovlin felt reclaiming the lead in both championships would be a huge morale boost for Mercedes heading into the summer break.
We’re about halfway through the championship, there’s very fine margins in terms of the points and, for us, we’re just going to throw everything at it now to try and get through,” Shovlin said.
“If we can get ourselves ahead going into the summer break, that would be fantastic. That’s probably the target we’ll set ourselves, but it’s a stretch target.
“But we’ve shown [at Silverstone] that anything’s possible. You’ve just got to keep going, trying to get better and trying to improve.
“They are a difficult team to beat, but I think we’re a strong team and we’ll be putting everything into it to try and win.”